Magazine article Artforum International

Thomas Locher

Magazine article Artforum International

Thomas Locher

Article excerpt

KLEMENS GASSER & TANJA GRUNERT

Conventions of communication have long been the subject of Thomas Locher's art. His methodology is rooted in interrogation and analysis, and his impulse is to deconstruct language, treating it as concrete, pliable material. The patterns that emerge in his work demonstrate the processes by which abstract ideas--logic, order, rational proportion, progression--take on visible form. In the past, he has silk-screened or carved words on the kinds of objects that we physically inhabit--cabinets, tables and chairs, beds, architectural environments. It is axiomatic that in art no object is neutral; when we see a piece of furniture in an artwork, mentally we "perform" or complete the idea by imagining ourselves occupying or using it, which probably happens at a precognitive level. At the point of that conceptual occupation, we gain access to the considerable social, psychological, and subjective dimensions of Locher's art.

For Locher, language is a showcase for human relations. In his latest body of work, "Politics of Communication" (all works 2000), wall-mounted tableaux emulate, indeed function as, sleek, perfectly produced bulletin boards. Magnetic foil strips, some silk-screened with text, some with imagery, are carefully arranged on large, buff-colored, powder-coated sheets of steel. The grainy black-and-white images, reproduced from design magazines, feature various groupings of modernist office furniture, a passing reference, perhaps, to his earlier use of actual chairs, beds, and tables. But there's nothing remotely domestic about the world to which these office modules belong: It's all strictly business. The magnetic strips of text and image, although laid down in carefully ordered sequences, remain movable, which suggests the possibility of endless variation. …

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